dialogue

noun
di·​a·​logue | \ ˈdī-ə-ˌlȯg How to pronounce dialogue (audio) , -ˌläg\
variants: or less commonly dialog

Definition of dialogue

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a written composition in which two or more characters are represented as conversing
2a : a conversation between two or more persons also : a similar exchange between a person and something else (such as a computer)
b : an exchange of ideas and opinions organized a series of dialogues on human rights
c : a discussion between representatives of parties to a conflict that is aimed at resolution a constructive dialogue between loggers and environmentalists
3 : the conversational element of literary or dramatic composition very little dialogue in this film writes realistic dialogue
4 : a musical composition for two or more parts suggestive of a conversation

dialogue

verb
dialogued; dialoguing

Definition of dialogue (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to express in dialogue … and dialogued for him what he would say …— Shakespeare

intransitive verb

: to take part in a dialogue managers dialoguing with employees

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Dialectic: Logic Through Conversation

Dialectic is a term used in philosophy, and the fact that it is closely connected to the ideas of Socrates and Plato is completely logical—even from an etymological point of view. Plato’s famous dialogues frequently presented Socrates playing a leading role, and dialogue comes from the Greek roots dia- (“through” or “across”) and -logue (“discourse” or “talk”). Dialect and dialectic come from dialecktos (“conversation” or “dialect”) and ultimately back to the Greek word dialegesthai, meaning “to converse.”

Conversation or dialogue was indeed at the heart of the “Socratic method,” through which Socrates would ask probing questions which cumulatively revealed his students’ unsupported assumptions and misconceptions. The goal, according to the definition in our Unabridged Dictionary, was to “elicit a clear and consistent expression of something supposed to be implicitly known by all rational beings.”

Other philosophers had specific uses of the term dialectic, including Aristotelianism, Stoicism, Kantianism, Hegelianism, and Marxism. Asking a series of questions was considered by Socrates a method of “giving birth” to the truth, and a related word, maieutic, defined as “relating to or resembling the Socratic method of eliciting new ideas from another,” comes from the Greek word meaning “of midwifery.”

Examples of dialogue in a Sentence

Noun

He is an expert at writing dialogue. There's very little dialogue in the film. The best part of the book is the clever dialogue. Students were asked to read dialogues from the play. The two sides involved in the labor dispute are trying to establish a dialogue. The two parties have been in constant dialogue with each other.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Lam's administration says the violence must end before any dialogue can begin. Katie Tam, chicagotribune.com, "Hong Kong has withdrawn an extradition bill that sparked months of protests," 4 Sep. 2019 Lopez listened as the actors ran confidently through the swift, almost Sorkinesque dialogue. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "How Matthew Lopez Transformed “Howards End” Into an Epic Play About Gay Life," 2 Sep. 2019 Work at being part of a dialogue rather than someone who always has the answer. Fern Kupfer, Twin Cities, "Fern Kupfer: Tips for college: How to please your professor," 2 Sep. 2019 Absent dialogue with those who formed it, the past is actually always just the past, a bulb dormant beneath a blanket of icy indifference. Richard Brady, National Review, "Valley of the Shadow," 31 Aug. 2019 It was followed by a series of workshops and lectures to increase dialogue about Little Saigon Stories. San Diego Union-Tribune, "City Heights mural depicts Vietnamese refugee stories," 28 Aug. 2019 Luck’s openness during his retirement press conference Saturdayabout the mental side of his decision has sparked a dialogue about the importance of mental health for football players. Matthew Vantryon, Indianapolis Star, "Before he retired, Andrew Luck got Krishawn Hogan's attention. He had something to say.," 27 Aug. 2019 This episode, best remembered for the moment in which Julia accidentally moons a crowd (including the mayor of Atlanta), is a reminder that the series excelled at physical comedy in addition to sharp and rapid-fire dialogue. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "The 5 best episodes of 'Designing Women,' in honor of its arrival on Hulu," 26 Aug. 2019 French President Emanuel Macron has been urging Trump and the Iranians toward a dialogue. NBC News, "White House officials blindsided by Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif's G-7 appearance," 25 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Perspective sharing will open the gateway to further dialogue that’s based on a true understanding of your desires and your family’s desires. Steven P. Dinkin, San Diego Union-Tribune, "The wedding plan: Perspective sharing," 18 Aug. 2019 But one of the leaders insists that the movement is not opposed to dialogue in principle. The Economist, "The violent end of Daniel Ortega’s decade of quiet," 26 Apr. 2018 Despite their criticisms, both Tillerson and defense officials have stressed the importance of finding a path to dialogue with Moscow. Karen Deyoung, Washington Post, "Putin speech adds to freeze in U.S.-Russia relations," 1 Mar. 2018 Swiss Education While South Korea currently bans tourists from traveling north, the thaw over the Olympics brings the countries closer to dialogue on restoring lucrative cross-border tours that once brought Kim’s regime millions of dollars a year. Bloomberg.com, "Kim Jong Un’s Luxury Ski Resort Steals Olympic Spotlight," 30 Jan. 2018 Maybe the past and present aren’t mutually exclusive, this exhibition suggests, but can dialogue with and inform one another. OregonLive.com, "Tom Cramer exhibit shows there's plenty new under the sun (review)," 29 Oct. 2017 Knowles sisters Beyoncé and Solange have released solo albums that dialogue with each other obliquely. Carl Wilson, Slate Magazine, "On Haim’s New Album Something to Tell You, the Band of Sisters Is Better Than Ever," 10 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dialogue.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dialogue

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1566, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for dialogue

Noun and Verb

Middle English dialoge, from Anglo-French dialogue, from Latin dialogus, from Greek dialogos, from dialegesthai to converse, from dia- + legein to speak — more at legend

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Learn More about dialogue

Statistics for dialogue

Last Updated

7 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dialogue

The first known use of dialogue was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for dialogue

dialogue

noun

English Language Learners Definition of dialogue

: the things that are said by the characters in a story, movie, play, etc.
: a discussion or series of discussions that two groups or countries have in order to end a disagreement
: a conversation between two or more people

dialogue

noun
di·​a·​logue
variants: also dialog \ ˈdī-​ə-​ˌlȯg \

Kids Definition of dialogue

1 : conversation given in a written story or a play
2 : a conversation between two or more people or groups The dialogue helped avoid a fight.

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